When I opened my business over 10 years ago, I was given the best advice I would probably ever get; “Success…leads to failure”. I didn’t understand what it meant at the time, but I finally had to learn what that statement meant by living it. A very wise businessman who I consulted with prior to opening my business said to me within the first week of me opening my company. “Adam please remember one thing, success leads to failure”. At first I thought, wow those are very deep words. I kind of laughed and said that’s got to be the best oxymoron I’ve ever heard. He tried to explain it to me but it didn’t quite sink in.
After 10 years into my business I can say that I understand what that statement TRULY means. In my first 8 months of business being in operation I had over 6 staff and I made almost $1 million. By my fifth year, I had offices in the USA and I was working with accounts such as; NASCAR, Tim Horton’s, Mercedes-Benz, Sara Lee and Lacoste just to name a few. It’s hard to believe that in 2009 during the recession in a matter of just 3 days, I lost everything. I went from $1.5 million in the bank to owing over $500,000.
That is clearly success that lead to failure. Understanding now what that means, it also allowed me to better prepare for the worst that can happen in the future. I’m no different than thousands of others who can probably relate to this statement. I not only lost professionally by having success, I lost personally as well. Including my family. Due to financial strain I ended up divorced. I can tell you I’m a lot wiser and much more cautious. I have a very hard time now associating with what success is. I’ve been told on many occasions that I’m very successful. I always say thank you, but then I ask them.What is success? I get very interesting answers. One nagging question will always remain; If I truly have success again, does that mean I can only fail? Is having money success? Is success having love? Is success having both? According to the dictionary success is described as “that accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” Or “the attainment of popularity or profit”. I can’t for the life of me use the word success and put my picture beside it in any way. I’ve tried in many ways to not use the word success when I think of where my future lies. Setting and achieving your goal is an opportunity to set new ones.
I regularly create a Mission Statement and a Vision Statement for myself personally as much as I do it for my businesses. I encourage everyone to create a mission and a vision statement for themselves. It allows you to know who you want to be and where you want to go in your life. I’ve lost my family and even friends because success was achieved in my life and it only resulted in failure. I can honestly say I am confident with who I am and I don’t want this to sound like a depressed memoir. Not at all, it’s a lesson to all of us individuals and businesses that we need to attain that goal through building our Mission Statement and our Vision Statement. I have managed to restructure myself into building something backup financially and mentally to achieve the goals I’ve set for myself. And I’m doing it every day. If anything know that success is something that is never truly achieved and when it is, you might as well prepare yourself for failure.
Article by: Adam Oldfield